Now that our oldest child is 7 and our youngest will be entering the big K next year, our lives are busier than ever. If you have kids I'm sure you can relate. The weekends fill up fast without consciously blocking time out. Even the after school and evening times seem to fill quickly with activities, school meetings, fundraisers, and other related events. I hear parents talk about their busy family schedules and I cringe.
This weekend we experienced our first music recital. I had to use every ounce of self control to keep myself from crying (even when the other kids played). It may have been the pride in the eyes of these little people as they performed their masterpiece. More likely it was the sheer gratification, that the many Tuesday afternoons spent trying to entertain the little siblings at the music center while their big brother attended his lesson, were worth the excitement and joy in his eyes on the day of this first performance.
Sadly, these initial feelings of parental joy and pride were quickly followed by a panicked thought. What if they all want to do this? Music, sports, social outings, how do two working parents make this happen for 3 children? How do you even find time to give them the opportunity to try the activities that may become their passion? What if I'm missing the chance right now to introduce one to something that could be their hidden talent?
I hate seeing kids whisked from one activity to the next with little or no time to reflect on the experiences of the day before moving on to the next commitment. Yet having been a young dedicated athlete myself, I struggle with the desire to give my kids the same kind of satisfaction, growth, and sense of personal achievement which I gained from years of swim practices and weekend meets. Is it possible to give this kind of experience without over scheduling your kid's life? And if so, how do you give equal amounts of attention and sacrifice for all of your kids without the whole family going mad?